Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change
The threat of climate change, manifested in the increase of extreme weather conditions such as, droughts, storms or floods, has been recognized as a global priority issue. Climate change is a sustainable development challenge, with broad impacts not only on the environment but also on economic and social development. The effects of climate change will vary among regions, and between different generations, income groups and occupations as well as between women and men. Due, in part, to their lower adaptive capacities, developing countries and people living in poverty are likely to experience significant impacts.
Women form a disproportionately large share of the poor in countries all over the world. Women in rural areas in developing countries are highly dependent on local natural resources for their livelihood, because of their responsibility to secure water, food and energy for cooking and heating. The effects of climate change, including drought, uncertain rainfall and deforestation, make it harder to secure these resources. By comparison with men in poor countries, women face historical disadvantages, which include limited access to decision-making and economic assets that compound the challenges of climate change.
It is therefore imperative that a gender analysis be applied to all actions on climate change and that gender experts are consulted in climate change processes at all levels, so that women's and men’s specific needs and priorities are identified and addressed.